The usual expat family scenario is this: the husband gets a job assignment in Dubai and the wife (“trailing spouse”) and children join the husband to start their new life in Dubai. The husband’s visa will be sponsored by his employer and in turn, he will sponsor the visa of his family members.
However, some cases are different – like ours.
We came here because of the job offer I received. In some expat families, the spouse with the employment permit arrives in Dubai first and make the necessary arrangements to settle (find a house, car, school etc) before calling in the other family members.
I didn’t want to come here alone. (More like, I couldn’t sleep at night knowing my small child is miles and miles away)
My husband and then 3-year old daughter came together with me as tourists. I had an employment permit. I worked, my husband was the “trailing spouse” who stayed at home to reconnect with his daughter and made lovely bentos for me everyday.
This was taken in 2007, right after we got our UAE visas
In cases like this, the husband could look for a job immediately before his tourist visa expires 30 days after arrival and extendable for another 30 days but it wasn’t an option for us that time: we have yet to find a school for our daughter as well as someone to take care of her after school hours. He can’t go around looking for a job with a three year old child in tow. We didn’t have much time so I had to sponsor him first (and our daughter).
I get asked for questions like this: How do you go about sponsoring your husband in the UAE?
The thing is – being a Muslim country where it’s regarded that the men should be the ‘head of the family’, not the women, not all women can stand as a sponsor for their family members, the Dubai General Department for Residency and Foreigners Affairs requires that “the wife shall be an engineer, or doctor or a teacher”. If the woman works in other than the above listed professions, she needs to make a petition to the department to be exempted from this requirement, and the immigration department will decide on this request and pass its resolution of acceptance or rejection. In case of acceptance, the basic salary in this case shall be Dhs 10,000 or Dhs 9,000 plus accommodation. (Reference)
We got our UAE visas – mine first at the end of February 2007. Though I had an employment permit, I need to undergo medical tests (as all workers here do) before my passport gets stamped with residence (not to be confused with permanent residence visas in other countries as “Residence” status in the UAE is tied with your job. You lose your job and you only have 30 days either to find another or exit the country.). I needed to get my residence status first before I can sponsor family members.
Time was running out of their tourist visa.
I was so scared they’d have to fly out of the country and come back again with a new tourist visa (Japan passport holders get automatic tourist visas on arrival). That time, my husband knows very little English and Pristine (then 3) wasn’t very comfortable without me.
Luckily, we got their visas at the nick of time.
*The husband got his ‘wife’s visa’ replaced with his own residence (employment) visa after my mom came to stay with us and he finally went out and got a job, 4 months after we arrived.